Major Road Work Begins In East Lansing

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Everyone knows the saying 'Michigan has two seasons: winter and construction.' Starting Monday in East Lansing, it's both for the foreseeable future.

It's the first day of preparation work for the Michigan and Grand River Avenue construction project, and it's also the first day of Michigan State University's spring break, which was no accident.

Crews spent most of the day rolling out the orange barrels, and many people are already dreading the long road ahead.

"With everyone gone for spring break, it doesn't seem like it, but once everyone gets back, it's really going to be a problem," Tyler Haske said.

Haske is a delivery driver for Conrad's Grill on Grand River Ave., and he said customers can expect about a 10-minute delay on orders once construction really gets going.

"I guess we could just ask for a little bit of patience," Haske said.

Patience is exactly what the Michigan Department of Transportation asks for, too, from now until October. That's how long the $8 million project will take while they make improvements on Grand River Ave. from Coolidge to Park Lake Road and on Michigan Ave. from the West City Limit to Grand River.

"We'll be essentially resurfacing the roadway, keeping that roadway in good condition," MDOT Spokesperson Kari Arend said. "Supply the motorists with a newer, smoother, safer, roadway."

There will be upgrades to sidewalks and signals at several intersections as well to comply with American Disabilities Act. The construction will occur in multiple phases, and at least one lane of traffic will remain open in both directions during the project. But businesses are still concerned.

"People see orange barrels and they get scared of coming downtown," Crunchy's Manager Mike Krueger said. "Hopefully they won't. Hopefully they'll still come, and make their way through downtown and stop on in for a burger on their way."

He met with MDOT last week, and other businesses are doing the same. The city and MDOT have been working closely, too, and agreed no work or lane closures will be allowed during community events, like home football games and fall move-in.

"We're really trying to lessen those impacts as much as possible but still getting the road work done," Arend said.

MDOT plans to keep people updated on the project via Facebook and Twitter. They've also created an email list any resident or business can join for more information.

Lane closures could start this week, but the real construction begins March 11 near the areas of Beal and Michigan, as well as Grand River and Coolidge.

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